In my time outside of Patheos, I work full-time in the information technology field. Specifically, I work in help desk. I don’t do the desktop support side where the person comes to your desk and helps you out. Oh no. I do call center work. Which involves a whole lot of what call center workers call, “scripts”. In my world, it is mostly a greeting and a series of questions that will delineate your problem into solveable chunks. It’s like a doctor asking about your symptoms. The doctor knows what sort of questions to ask, while you only know the symptoms you feel. Same thing.
My work involves dealing with all kinds of people and all kinds of human emotions. I’ve learned how to deal with frustrated, worried, and stressed workers. I’ve learned how to deal with big egos and foreign accents. I’ve learned how to work better as a team member and how to encourage those around me. I’ve also learned what not to do, too. I would say that my job in help desk has taught me more about people in general than any other job I’ve ever had. (Even more than Trader Joe’s during Thanksgiving…!)
One thing I am continually struck with is how little validation most people receive at any time. I am convinced that most of us really do feel insecure, stressed, and underappreciated. We are all, for the msot part, overworked and underpaid. We have too much to do and too little time to do it. Whether you have four kids (like me), or no children, one job or three…. you likely feel like you have more work than time.
In my work, I’ve noticed that there are things I can say which really help. These are:
1) You’re awesome.
2) Hello, [insert first name].
The reactions I get to these phrases are stunning to me. Humans need to be reminded of their worth. Humans feel good validating the humanity in others.
This observation has also come at a time when I have begun to search myself. Namely, what I say. Let me just say that I don’t always look for the positive. It seems to be in my genetics to look at the negatives, the flaws, the worst-possible-scenarios. It’s so easy to see what needs to be fixed. (Because, well, I like fixing things!) I have been working on reminding myself to focus on the positive, both in situations and in other people. I’m only human, after all.
There’s actually a mitzvah about not gossiping and about only speaking kindly of others. You know, that Bambi quote: “If you can’t say anything nice, don’tv day nothin at all.”
See this Chabad link for more: http://m.chabad.org/library/article_cdo/aid/920718/jewish/Gossip-and-Slander.htm
I don’t know if it’s our rushed culture, or capitalism, or what, but for some reason Americans seem so selfish. In order to climb the corporate food chain, you have to be a little bit selfish, right?? I don’t know.
Don’t we all want to be around positive people? I know I do! That’s the kind of person I want to be.
This is what v the holidays remind me of: humanity. The light in others. The gifts mean nothing if we don’t first value the people around us.